Thursday, December 21, 2017

7 Routine Expenses You Can Eliminate Doing Yourself

With consumer credit card debt expected to increase some more in 2018, people looking to finally eliminate this debt will need to take drastic measures.  Budgets work and they're great at helping us not overspend each month.  They help us track our spending and if done right, may even help us save a little money each month.  But budgeting isn't enough these days.  Not when you're trying to accelerate your retirement savings, because perhaps you finally realize you are way behind.  Not when you're trying to also contribute monthly amounts to your child's 529 plan without also compromising other financial obligations.

Image result for cutting my own hair

I had a revelation three weeks ago as I stared into the mirror and noticed I needed a haircut.  What if I cut my own hair, again?  I say "again" because as a college student, I never paid for a single haircut.  I had my clippers, mirror, and attachments, and with these I was able to cut my own hair for 6 years!  (No, it didn't take me that long to includes a full 12 months of Teacher Ed).  Here I am paying the barber about $12 every three weeks to cut my hair essentially in the same style I used to give myself back at UC Santan Barbara.  Doing some math, that means I spent about $212 a year for 17 years!!  That's $3,604.  You may be thinking, but what about the convenience you got to enjoy all those years?  True.  It feels nice having someone trim you up while you relax and watch some TV.

Still, the theme of this post is on doing things we wouldn't normally consider doing ourselves, in order to save money.  Some of these do have a time tradeoff, and so you have to factor whether or not your time is more valuable (doing something else) whenever you engage in the activity.  Here we go:

1)  Mow your own lawn.  How much are you paying your gardner each month for landscaping services?  Instead of killing time watching sports on the weekends, save the money you'd otherwise give to a gardner maintaining the outside beauty of your home yourself.

2)  Men: Cut your own hair.  If you have a GQ magazine style haircut, this isn't for you.  But if you can do with short hair that only requires clippers and their attachments, then stop giving the barber your money.  You aren't skilled enough?  It's really not that hard.  And like most things, the more you do it, the better you get at it.  There are also a ton of video tutorials on YouTube.

3)  Cook all your meals daily.  The average American eats 4.2 meals per week outside their home.  This equates to about $232 per month.  Too much eating out, folks!  Stop being lazy.  Stop using the convenience excuse.  Your debt doesn't care.

4)  Change your car's oil.  I spent two hours at Walmart yesterday, getting an oil change.  It's the last time I get it done there.  I spent $30, using conventional (not synthetic) motor oil.  This is something I used to do myself right out of Grad school.  I was looking to payoff my loans as soon as possible.  But I gave it up once I was on more solid financial footing.  Again, it's not that difficult.  You'll need a jack and stands plus an oil catch pan.  You may already have the mechanic tools you need sitting in your garage.

5)  No more visits to the dry cleaners.  How often are you dropping clothes off at the local dry cleaners?  Save your money sticking to a washer, dryer, and occasional iron.

6)  Do your own manis and pedis.  Some gals really love to get their nails done frequently.  Ladies, can't this be done in-house?  At minimum, do them more often yourself and save yourself hundreds of dollars a year.

Image result for doing my nails

7)  Clean your own house!  Instead of hiring a service to come do a deep cleaning of your home once every two weeks, do a little cleaning every day yourself.  It's called, upkeep, people!

**Bonus: 8) Wash your own dang car, man!  Save $10 easy every 2 weeks.

If you're desperate to become debt free and live a life that is more financially independent, you need to cut back any way you can.  Put everything on the table and commit to doing more things yourself to get out of that hole you're in.  Thanks for reading! 

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